Big Names from Mid-20th Century Lighting

Big Names from Mid-20th Century Lighting

Those craftsmen and women designing and making chandeliers today have a wonderful history of lighting design to draw inspiration from. Mid 20th century chandeliers are hugely popular and adorn the ceilings of many a home around the world. The pleasing designs featuring curvy silhouettes and interesting geometric patterns arrived on the scene in post-war Europe and the United States as new and innovative materials and technology became available.

Yes, there is still much love and desire for the 19th century style chandelier but the artistic creations of the last century were inspired by new themes and new ways of living. Why not have your own contemporary light fixture designed and made with specialist chandeliers London?

Castiglioni Brothers

During the 1950s and 60s Italian lighting was very much dominated by the Castiglioni Brothers. Working out of Milan, their motto was ‘design demands observation’. Their inspiration was creations that used as little material as possible to create impressive designs. The beauty of their lighting was its simplicity and power.


This name still commands respect as one of the great Italian lighting designers of the post war period. Founded in 1946, the name was inspired by the phrase ‘dolce stil novo’ which means sweet new style. All lighting was manufactured inside Italy and many famous designers were invited to contribute to projects such as Antonio Macchi and Ettore Sottsass. The materials were innovative and functional and can still be found in homes today. One of the more futuristic designs was the space-themed Sputnik light.

Alvar Aalto

Part of the Scandinavian Modern movement, this Finnish designer’s pieces evoked warmth and contained organic elements. He famously designed the pavilions used for the world fairs in 1937 and 1939 and his home furnishing lines had great movement. His work was curvaceous and human, beautiful and functional in equal measure. He founded the company Artek to produce many lighting fixtures, particular favourites being his pendant lamps.

Emil Stejnar

This multi-skilled craftsman had many talents to his name. Not only a lighting designer but also a gold and silversmith, an astrologer and magician! He wanted to transfer his metal skills to lighting design and opened a workshop in Sweden to do just that. His chandeliers were simply breath-taking containing elements such as 24 carat gold-plated brass and the finest Austrian crystals.

Karl Springer

Born in Berlin but based in New York, Springer was predominantly a furniture designer who branched into torchieres and table lamps. Inspired by the Art Deco movement, Springer was responsible for reviving appreciation and desire for lighting made in that style. He brought back vintage materials such as shagreen (a type of sharkskin).

The materials he used were innovative and unconventional, such as wood veneers, chromed steel and lacquered parchment for example. The exotic nature of his work captured the imagination of the Duchess of Windsor who helped to propel his name and his business to heady heights.

Serge Mouille

A French silversmith who earned his stripes at the School of Applied Arts in Paris. He intended to spend his career designing silver cutlery and utensils but an opportunity for an apprenticeship with sculptor Gabriel Lacroix led in him in a different direction.

Whilst working on commissioned pieces, he discovered his true strength lay in creating lighting fixtures. His knowledge of silver helped him to create masterfully minimal, multi-armed fittings that could be rotate. He very much wanted his lamps to be ‘touchable’ and the rotation of his pieces was his signature trademark.

Poul Henningsen

This Danish designer became fascinated with the electric light bulb and made it his quest for people to be able to light their homes more effectively. He argued that it didn’t take much to light a room correctly, but it did take culture! His PH lamp came first in the competition of the Paris Exposition of Decorative Arts in 1925. These lamps are extremely sought after even today. Another iconic lamp that still attracts much attention is his 1958 Artichoke lamp which consisted of different layers of shade in copper and painted metal.

Vilhelm Lauritzen

For almost fifty years, Lauritzen ran an architecture firm in Denmark and he worked on large projects including the Daells Varehus department store and Copenhagen’s first airport. Obviously not busy enough, he also entered the world of home furnishings. He preferred a minimalist and organic design in his famous concave sconces and opal chandeliers.